PM Mitsotakis: Conversion of the Monastery of Chora into a mosque was unnecessary

Greece
Thu, 9 May 2024 7:50 GMT
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis highlighted the importance of voters' active participation in the upcoming European Parliament elections, during his regular monthly meeting with the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Wednesday.
PM Mitsotakis: Conversion of the Monastery of Chora into a mosque was unnecessary

"We are coming into the final stretch before the European elections on June 9 and on the occasion of our meeting I will repeat the need for the largest possible participation in a very important electoral process, which concerns every Greek, as the things that will be decided in Europe in the next five years will also have an impact within Greece," he said. 

"Our continent is facing very important geopolitical challenges and, in comparison with the conditions in 2019 when we had the last Euroelections, many more clouds have gathered in Europe's sky and we will be asked to tackle these challenges with self-confidence and courage, whether we are speaking about defence policy, where we must channel more European funds, or the continuaton of a strict but fair policy for protecting the external borders, or the need to enhance Europe's competitiveness so we can compete with the USA and China on an equal footing," he added.

Chora: " I will put to President Erdogan when I meet him." 

Mitsotakis also referred to his upcoming visit to Ankara on Monday, which returns a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens, and publicly expressed his displeasure over the "unnecessary conversion of a historic Byzantine temple, the Monastery of Chora, into a mosque. It is an action which insults Istanbul's rich history as a crossroads of civilisations and is an issue which, of course, I will put to President Erdogan when I meet him." 

Furthermore, Mitsotakis added, the meeting will serve as an opportunity to assess the effort for a rapprochement between Greece and Turkiye, which he said has had "measurable results on many levels". 

"We always approach our talks with Turkiye with self confidence and without delusions. The Turkish positions will not change from one day to the next. Nevertheless, I consider it a given that channels of communication should always be open so that we can discuss with sincerity and, when we disagree, do so without tensions and without this leading to an escalation in the field, as we have, unfortunately, seen happening in the last four years," the prime minister underlined.

President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou also referred to the European Parliament elections during her meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday, saying that they are "a real challenge, especially in the current conjucture."

She noted that Europe has achieved a lot on a political, economic and social level and also has to deal with a series of challenges, such as the climate crisis, the energy crisis, the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and the huge humanitarian crises unfolding in Ukraine and Gaza. 

"All the above are very important issues for Europe and Greece plays a key role in their management because it must always have an active voice, as it strives to do, and defend its own interests. So, I believe that the only significant path here is participation in the elections, which is essentially participation in shaping our common European future, and this more than a privilege. It is the obligation and duty of us all and I hope that our compatriots understand this," she said.

On Greek-Turkish relations, she said that the need to cultivate these and continue dialogue "goes without saying" because this is not only the way to ensuring peace and good neighbourly ties but also to send messages when necessary.

Referring to the conversion of the Monastery of Chora into a mosque, she underlined that it does not send good signals as it is a world heritage monument and she noted the need to respect common values in order to have good relations with Europe.  AMNA

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